Room At The Top | Part 2 :: Stairway to Heaven

So far in our Room At The Top guide, we've taken you through ways to assess the feasibility of using your loft as part of the living space in your home, concentrating on the structure and the available space. Now, one of the key areas to consider is access to the new loft room. We'll look at some of the options available to you, whilst keeping within the guidelines of the Building Regulations for staircases (in the UK). To use your loft as a habitable room, you should have some form of fixed stairway - a retractable loft ladder wouldn't be acceptable. (Click here to view the UK Building Control Regulations for Staircases.) A simple, straight flight of stairs may provide the easiest access but it also takes up the most space and for most houses this would cause a problem.  But, with a little imagination and using one of the innovative and attractive staircases available, you could have an inviting and stylish access to your loft room. For a conventional style of staircase, usin...
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Room At The Top | Part 1 :: Check Out That Roof!

Loft for conversion courtesy of Velux.co.uk
To be able to make good use of your loft, you need to have a reasonable amount of available floor space and headroom. This is determined by the type of roof structure you have. If your house was built after 1965, it is quite likely that the roof was built using "trussed rafters", creating a network of timbers criss-crossing the loft. The bad news is that you can't easily alter this type of roof and a loft conversion might be out of the question without replacing or supporting the roof structure. Sorry!   If your roof is of more traditional "rafter and purlin" construction, where a large beam (or "purlin") runs horizontally along the roof about half way up to support the roof rafters, this is a better option for conversion. A steeper roof pitch will be another advantage, allowing more headroom. For comfortable use, you really need a minimum height of 2.3m (7'6") available over half the floor area for a bedroom, playroom or study. If you are short of headroom, creating a dormer ...
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Room At The Top :: Our Guide

Roof conversion inspiration from Velux
Have you noticed how we're being bombarded at the moment with TV programmes, glossy magazines and social media messages all showing us how to "improve" our homes with designer flair or handyman skills? Whether you are being inspired or irritated by all this media DIY encouragement, there is little doubt that careful, attractive and useful home improvements can add value to your home.  But, if what you need is not more colour but more space - for an extra bedroom, study or home office, for example - then perhaps the answer would be a loft conversion.
Do you need information about converting your loft? Just read on...
Using the loft for more living space can give you imaginative, light and airy rooms and is usually more cost-effective than building an extension - and, of course, you don't have to sacrifice any of your garden!   The size and shape of lofts vary considerably but, even if you only have 2.3m (7ft 6in) headroom when you stand in the middle of your loft and meas...
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